If you’ve been injured at work in Darwin or elsewhere in the Northern Territory, it is important to understand your workers compensation entitlements, writes Victoria Bell.
If you’ve been injured at work in Darwin or elsewhere in the Northern Territory, it is important to understand your workers compensation entitlements, writes TGB’s Victoria Bell.
A worker (whether employed full-time, part-time, casual or seasonal) who is injured on the job may be entitled to lodge a claim for compensation under the Northern Territory’s Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act. The injury must have occurred during the course of employment, by any incident arising out of employment and on a journey to and from work (other than a motor vehicle accident, which is handled as a separate claim under different legislation).
There are various entitlements available to injured workers, including reasonable medical expenses, rehabilitation assistance, travel expenses, household services, attendant care services and payments for lost income due to incapacity for work. Whether you qualify for some or all entitlements will depend on the medical evidence provided by your doctor.
There is also a potential entitlement to lump sum compensation if you are left with a 5% or more Whole Person Impairment (WPI) as a result of an injury. This is for both physical and psychological injuries, and does not finalise the claim or affect weekly payments for medical or rehabilitation expenses. Lump sum entitlements are assessed when your injuries have stabilised, which is usually about a year after the injury or last surgery.
Following the injury it is important for you to immediately advise your supervisor and fill out an incident report form. You should see your regular doctor (there is no obligation to see an appointed doctor initially) and get a first medical certificate.
You then need to complete a workers compensation claim form. The form can be obtained from your employer, through the insurer or NT WorkSafe. The completed form must then be submitted to your employer and if there is a claim for lost income the first medical certificate must be included.
If you are claiming medical expenses, it is important to submit copies of the invoices for treatment along with the claim form.
It is also important to lodge the claim within six months, or your ability to claim may be limited. It is recommended that you keep copies of the documents lodged for your own records.
Your employer will complete their section of the form and send it to the insurer. The insurer will then either accept, reject or request more information before making a decision.
If your claim is rejected or a decision has been made to stop paying your compensation, you must apply to NT WorkSafe for mediation within 90 days. NT WorkSafe will then refer the matter to a mediation hearing, which is attended by you (the claimant), the employer (NT Police) and the insurer. The mediator will work with the parties in an attempt to resolve the issue. Lawyers are not allowed to be part of this process except in exceptional circumstances. If the matter cannot be resolved, an application is made to the Work Health Court for a formal review of the decision.
If you’ve been injured at work it is crucial to seek the advice of an experienced workers compensation lawyer and find out your rights, especially when weighing up an offer from an insurer that will have a significant impact on your ability to work and live.
To arrange a free initial appointment about your workers compensation matter, register online or call us at our Darwin office on 8995 9520.